FirstEnergy wants out of the competitive power generation business. That’s been known since CEO Chuck Jones said so last fall. But, as the Akron-based utility tries to sell its power plants, or get the nuclear ones re-regulated, it’s also trying to lower the taxes it has to pay on them.
Declaring what’s called an “impairment”’ is one way to do that. It’s like asking the city to lower your property tax if the value of your house drops. In FirstEnergy’s case they’re saying the drop is $9-Billion.
That’s for all of their plants across the board, but to trigger tax reductions for the five in Ohio, the state Taxation Department must OK FirstEnergy’s “impairment” calculation. Jennifer Young is a spokesperson for FirstEnergy. “We’re currently working with the state in their audit process to determine if they accept the value we have placed on the plants and their equipment. We expect that the state will look at that over the next few months. And by the end of September they’ll give us their final decision on the taxable value of the plant.”
FirstEnergy plants in Ohio now pay a combined $40-million dollars a year in local and state taxes.